Arlington buys £280m of UK student housing in joint venture with Equitix

Alternative real estate fund manager Arlington Advisors has acquired a £280m (€310m) worth of UK student accommodation in a joint venture with infrastructure fund manager Equitix.

UK-based Arlington Advisors, which advises Jersey-based Arlington Investors, said it bought a portfolio from Fusion Students for more than £232m and an additional property from an unnamed private investor.

The five assets sold by Fusion Students, known as The Stellar Portfolio, encompass 1,857 beds in Newcastle, Nottingham, Cardiff and Bristol. They are operated by Collegiate AC.

The price paid for the additional Merlin Heights property in Leicester was not disclosed. The asset, recently built by Watkin Jones, has 601 beds and is operated by Fresh Student Living.

The acquisition adds 2,458 beds to Arlington’s purpose-built student housing portfolio, which now stands at 12,700 beds. Arlington said it was now the largest indepently-owned and sixth largest overall student accommodation platform in the UK.

Sean McKeown, managing director at Arlington Advisors, said: “This acquisition builds on Arlington’s track record within the student accommodation asset class which continues to offer attractive investment opportunities for our investors.

“We remain committed to expanding our activity within the sector with a strong pipeline already in place for 2019, where we expect to continue acquiring high-quality assets in premier city locations.”

The transaction was financed with £200m of 44-year senior debt from an institutional investor.

Fusion Students said the sale would enable it fund its expansion plans in the UK and overseas.

James Pullan, global head of student property at Knight Frank, which advised Fusion Students, said: “The Stellar Portfolio is one of the highest quality portfolios ever to come to market.

”Investment appetite was ferocious, receiving bids from all over the world.”

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